How Ford Took the E From Elon Musk's S3XY Tesla Trademark

How Ford stepped in when Tesla attempted to register the E trademark

Eight years ago when Tesla attempted to get the trademark for Model e, Ford stepped in to block it. It hauled out for a 2010 agreement involving companies, resulting in Tesla not being able to use the letter for a car name. Ford hasn’t used the name for its vehicle so far, and only as it announced its electric vehicle division, did the trademark come to life.

How Ford Took the E From Elon Musk's S3XY Tesla Trademark
Image credits- Bloomberg

“A friend asked me at a party, ‘What are you going to name the third-generation car?’ Well, we have the S and the X, so we might as well make it the E,” the Tesla CEO told CNNMoney in 2014. Though Ford hadn’t used it for a production vehicle, the company contended that Model E sounded too similar to the original mass-market hit automobile: the Model T. “We’re like, ‘Ford’s killing SEX,’” Musk said in 2014. “So, OK, fine we won’t use Model E.”  Then as a result of the situation, the third vehicle in Tesla’s lineup was dubbed the Model 3. A clever substitute for a backward uppercase letter E. After which, the carmaker subsequently added a sport utility vehicle, the Model Y.

Ford using the trademark

Ford is using a lowercase letter “e” instead of uppercase because it is the letter used to represent an electron, and it applies to digital embedded systems as well as electric propulsion. “We chose Model e to signal our ambition,” Mark Truby, Ford’s chief communications officer told. “Model T changed the way people moved and changed the world in many ways. Model e has the same ambition.”

Ford is using Ford Model e (lowercase) as the name for an all-electric division within Ford, an announcement made early Wednesday.”Henry Ford built the company off the success of the Model T, making ‘Model e’ an effective look forward and look back as it enters this transitional period,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst for the shopping site.

“Choosing the name is very intentional. We keep telling people this is the biggest transformation of the company since the scaling of the Model T,” Farley told. “We knew that Model e was going to be important at Ford Motor Company,” he said. “Did we know it was going to be for this announcement, three or four years ago? Absolutely not. We protected it for a darn good reason.”

Eight years ago Tesla was a relatively smaller company and the agreement between a company with legacy and a relatively newer company might not have made sense. However, in the current situation as well, Tesla is fighting against a relatively newer (but larger) company- Rivian in the court, alleging that Rivian is stealing Tesla’s battery secrets. Many similar rivalries happen in various aspects.